Hi friends! Happy Monday :) Last night, I made my dad and I baked salmon, which I had alongside pea soup and a sweet potato — one of the dinners I planned this week.
Every week (usually) I write out a meal plan. You either skip this post when I share it on Sundays or you might get some ideas for your own meals. To each their own.
I have been making weekly meal plans for awhile now. I started last year when I was living on my own (literally, no roomies) in college. It helped me save money, time, waste less food and stay on track. Even though I have roomies now (hi parents!) I still grocery shop and cook for myself — except when we have a family dinner.
I’m a planner. I totally get that this is not how everyone operates. But I am also a big believer that even having a flexible plan when it comes to food (and workouts) is so beneficial when aiming to live a healthy life.
When I first started planning and prepping, I was strict. Too strict. It was really hard for me to stray from “the plan” if something else came up. It was written on the calendar therefore it had to happen. Not exactly a healthy or calm mindset. Thankfully my best friend at the time really helped me to relax: to chuck the scheduled meal out the window and go for a spontaneous dinner. I am sure I frustrated him like no other but he was so patient and understood my feelings and I thank him for helping me learn to become more relaxed in my plan.
I’m often asked how I go about meal planning and prepping for the week. It’s really simple!
1. Figure out what I want to eat
What fruits and veggies are in season? What protein is on sale? What did I have last week? What am I craving this week? What new recipes do I want to try? What do I want to cook?
2. Make the plan
Once I decide what I’m feeling, I write down some breakfast options, my lunch of choice (yes I eat one lunch all week or leftovers…) and a few dinner ideas. I don’t plan five dinners or have set-dinners for each day — I felt overly planned when doing this. So I usually have leftovers once a week, go out once a week and sometimes “wing it” with what I have on hand.
3. Go to the grocery store
Now that I know what I’m making, I need to buy all the ingredients. I usually grocery shop on Saturdays… um, kinda love grocery shopping, just saying.
Over the weekend, I wash fruit, chop vegetables for my dinners, make my lunches (usually a big batch of something — like this week) and make sure I have quick snacks readily available (like homemade granola bars). Lately, I have been making a batch of soup too. Check out this post on food prep.
Ultimately, my main priorities are having my lunches made (because I’m in an office all day), having components of dinners prepped (because I’m hangry when I get home) and having quick snacks available (because I love to snack).
That’s really all there is to it. Sure, planning and prepping takes time in the moment but ultimately it saves time and makes for an easy week. It’s so nice looking in the fridge on a Wednesday night after a long day and seeing pre-chopped brussels sprouts, a sweet potato and a piece of pre-grilled chicken. Now that makes for a simple an efficient dinner.
As with everything in life, it’s all about finding a healthy balance.
Questions of the day…
What are your meal planning tips?
Food prepping tips?
If you don’t meal plan or food prep, how do you tackle the week?